WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --Missed free throws down the stretch doomed the Winston-Salem State University Rams, as a banked in three point shot with 2.7 left upended the Rams, 76-75 to the Fairmont State Falcons on Saturday night at the CE Gaines Center.
The loss drops #19 ranked Winston-Salem State to 2-1 on the young season, while Fairmont State improves to 3-0.
Fairmont State started quick and control the game through the early parts, taking a 11-5 lead with five minutes off the clock.
Winston-Salem State would settle down, as Preston Ross would get the crowd into the game with a couple of dynamic dunks, that gave the Rams the momentum, and eventually gave them the lead.
With 5:31 to play in the first half WSSU took a five point lead on a dunk from Ross, and back to back free throws from Marquez Jones gave WSSU its largest lead of the first half, 32-23, heading into halftime.
Preston Ross started the second half hot for WSSU, as his three pointer from the corner gave WSSU its largest lead of the game at 12 points, with the score 35-23.
But the lead quickly disappeared and as 15-4 run from Fairmont State cut the Rams lead to one point at 39-38 with 12:52 to play.
WSSU held an 11 point lead with 6:35 left to play, before the Falcons were able to cut the lead down to three at 59-56 with just over five minutes to go.
The team would continue to trade baskets, but the Rams achilles heel on the night, free throw shooting, continued to rear its ugly head and allowed Fairmont State to remain in striking distance.
Winston-Salem State still maintained a five point lead with 19 seconds left, but two FSU free throws coupled with a crucial missed free throw by WSSU and a deep three point shot by Fairmont's Stevie Browning, left the Rams with a one point lead and the ball with nine second to play.
WSSU's Tyre Desmore would be fouled with 8 second left. He stepped to the line and sank the first, before missing the second, setting up the dramatic finish.
Fairmont State rushed up the court and Shammgod Wells hoisted up a deep three that hit the backoard and went in with 2 seconds left, giving FSU a 76-75 lead.
The Rams inbounded the ball and Tyre Desmore was able to get a good look at the basket from near half court, but the ball hit off the rim, giving Fairmont State the win.
The score was tied three time and the lead changed hands six times during the game. WSSU held a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint, but Fairmont State's bench outscored the Rams 43-29.
Marquez Jones led three Rams in scoring with 21 points off the bench. Jones also added three rebounds, two steals and one assist. Preston Ross added 17 points, five rebounds and a steal, while WyKevin Bazemore chipped in 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Tyre Desmore had seven points and four assists, and Stacy Caroway also added seven points to go with three rebounds and two blocks.
Fairmont State was led by Chase Morgan and Stevie Browning who scored 14 points each. Browning added five rebounds and Morgan added four rebounds. Thomas Wimbush scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds to go with two blocks.